Digital Transformation two men looking at tablet
08/10/2020

How Digital Transformation is Changing Accounting and Finance

Every topic in this blog can help your business save time, money, and mental energy.

The year 2020 has so far slowed, halted, or even shut down many firms in the accounting & financial industry, tasking a majority of industry leaders with finding new ways to keep business moving forward.

One way to spark growth during this time is to embrace digital transformation with emerging technologies like Robotic Process Automation, Artificial Intelligence, and Blockchain. 

In this blog, we’re going to take a closer look at three technologies, demystify them and cover how they can help professionals in the finance industry unlock explosive growth and automate time-consuming projects. 

Robotic Process Automation

While this may sound like a phrase straight out of the movie, “The Terminator”, this topic is actually quite powerful and simply in theory. 

How this Helps Finance Professionals

Robotic Process Automation, RPA for short, helps finance gurus automate several time-consuming (and often brainless) tasks like data entry – often cutting the process of eight hours of work to just one hour or less. 

When you think of manual tasks in finance, data entry, invoicing, and processing paperwork may come to mind. What if you could automate all of those tasks with extreme accuracy? That’s exactly what RPA does. A basic RPA system allows your business to configure robots (computer software) to emulate and integrate the actions of a human that interacts with digital systems. From plugging data into a computer to managing money, RPA is easy to use and it eliminates manual tasks – allowing financial professionals to focus on more important business matters. 

Additionally, RPA has grown considerably over the last few years in search popularity. This chart below, taken from Google Trends, shows a steady rise in search queries over the last five years with an all-time high volume in late July 2020. 

robotoic process automation | BrainWorks

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is perhaps one of the most widely used and longest lasting buzzwords in the emerging technology industry. In all honesty, there’s a good reason for it. Between subject matter for science fiction movies to removing human error completely in business, AI is truly capable of some amazing, even game-changing results.

How this Helps Finance Professionals

Put simply, AI catches errors in financial systems before they occur.

Think about all the human errors in finance. From entering data incorrectly to forgetting an extra “0” on an invoice, human error comes with a hefty price tag. Or at least it did until AI came along. 

AI works by first having someone program what “perfection” looks like in your system. After this is done, AI bots are deployed, constantly and accurately monitoring your systems, looking to find when perfection is not being met. Once perfection is not found, the bots correct it and notify a human of the issue. Over time with machine learning, these AI bots can automatically fix the errors before they occur, getting “smarter” each day. 

The more you rely on humans, the more you’re subjective to risk. At a certain point, AI can remove most components associated with human error, allowing your firm to achieve speed and trust – both attractive qualities for investors and clients. 

Blockchain

Blockchain sounds like it could be a new type of music or even a hip new club but in reality, blockchain is so much more complex. 

How this Helps Finance Professionals

Blockchain technology sends and traces all financial data, making it nearly impossible to fail an audit or commit fraud. 

What is Blockchain? 

Blockchain is a series of “blocks” that store digital pieces of information. It’s a simple, yet complex way of passing data from one destination to another in an automated and extremely safe manner. Blockchains are frequently used in banking, investing, and cryptocurrency due to its free, traceable, and nearly hack-proof nature. 

How Blockchain works in Finance

Try to imagine a piece of financial information that isn’t stored electronically or doesn’t touch a computer. Have an answer? Neither do we. Copious amounts of financial records are constantly being stored, distributed, and accessed every second of every day. All of that information isn’t always traceable and is prone to cyber attacks.

Blockchain technology allows businesses to pass sensitive information along (invoices, client information, etc.) in an automated way via a chain of digital blocks that are traceable and secure. 

In addition, blockchain makes it nearly impossible to commit fraud or fail IRS audits. Since every piece of data is digitally traced with blockchain, it creates a transparent environment that proactively audits your business. Performing audits are as simple as reaching out to a vendor and comparing computer audits. Simple, secure, and trustworthy. 

It’s important to note that for blockchain to work, your data needs to be stored in the cloud.

BrainWorks Accounting and Finance Solutions

Our sincere goal is to help educate you on the various technologies that have helped many of our clients save time, money, and mental energy during these unprecedented times. 

If your company is looking to embrace digital technologies like RBA, AI and Blockchain, you’ll need top-tier talent that is well-versed in future technology. At BrainWorks, we connect top accounting and finance firms with industry-leading talent that can genuinely help usher in digital transformation.

Looking for leadership that’s at the frontlines of emerging technologies? Get in touch with our team of experts today to help place your next financial leader.

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